Appeals Court Temporarily Reinstates Texas Abortion Law

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Posted: Oct 09, 2021 7:00 AM
Appeals Court Temporarily Reinstates Texas Abortion Law

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

It's been quite the busy few days to do with the Texas abortion law which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, at around six weeks. Late Friday night, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily reinstated the Texas Heartbeat Act, issuing an administrative stay of a preliminary injunction granted by Judge Robert Pitman on Wednesday. Judge Pitman, an Obama appointee, who blocked enforcement of the Texas Heartbeat Act issued a ruling with particularly strong words against the law. 

"It is ordered that Appellant’s emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal is temporarily held in abeyance pending further order by this motions panel," the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The court is requesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) respond to the emergency motion by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 12. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the DOJ's lawsuit last month. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) quickly announced he would appeal, as Madeline reported on Thursday.

He did so on Friday.

Pitman's 113 page ruling blocked enforcement of the law, referring to it as "flagrantly unconstitutional" more than once. The law allows for private citizens to sue abortion providers, people who pay for a woman's abortion, and others who may have aided or abetted in an abortion. The law is also retroactive. 

In his ruling, Pitman indicated that Texas could appeal the preliminary injunction.

"That other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion is theirs to decide; this Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right," he wrote in closing. 

As Madeline also reported, at least six abortion facilities went back to performing abortions, including Whole Woman's Health. Pro-life activist Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, had called out the abortion facility's promoting the news on Twitter as "devastating" "evil," and "unspeakably tragic."

In celebrating the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision from Friday night, Rose noted that 100 unborn lives will be saved each day. 

Zoe Tillman made an interesting note about the makeup of the court of appeals.

In her reporting for BuzzFeed, Tillman noted that "the court will now decide whether to grant Texas’s request for a longer-term hold that would keep the law, SB 8, in effect while the state appeals its loss in the district court. The circuit ordered the Justice Department to respond by Tuesday at 5 p.m. CT."

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